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The Negative Effect of Jealousy in Othello, a Play by William Shakespeare

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The Unsuspecting

Jealousy is an omnipresent feeling. It often has an unfavorable result on people. In Othello, the play by William Shakespeare, the protagonist ends up eliminating his wife since he thinks her of adultery. While this is a heinous criminal offense, Othello was simply a pawn in a bigger plan. Therefore, he needs to be forgiven. Othello is a gullible fool.

Othello’s own issues lead him to murder Desdemona. He has insecurity issues with himself and is quickly swayed. In the beginning of the play, Othello is confident. Iago mentions Othello in a lowly manner oftentimes. He even calls him an “old black ram” and describes him as “tupping your white ewe” (1.1.9) when he wakens Brabantio with news of Desdemona’s marriage to Othello. Othello begins to deteriorate himself by saying “rude am I in speech” (1.3.96). This loss of self-confidence puts a dent in his relationship with Desdemona, leading up to her later departure. He is gullible for allowing Iago’s remarks to affect him. Therefore, Othello’s own naivety lead to Desdemona’s death.

However, the blame is not all on Othello. Iago is manipulative of Othello and those around him. Othello fell into his hands, and helped set his strategy in movement. Because Othello trusted Iago, it is easier for this to occur. Othello was betrayed. Iago says, “I am not what I am.” (1.1.71) This is him addressing his own deceptive qualities in a soliloquy. Later in the play, Iago wields his computing ways by convincing Cassio to become drunk. Iago states,” Come, lieutenant, I have a stoop of red wine; and here without are a brace of Cyprus gallants that would fain have a measure to the health of black Othello.” (2.3.30-34) He uses Cassio’s desire to please Othello against him by recommending that others would also be willing to toast a cheer to Othello. In doing so, he threatens the trust that Othello put in Cassio and likewise causes Othello to leave Desdemona’s side when a quarrel breaks out. Othello can not be blamed for Iago’s deceptiveness.

As abovementioned, Othello has insecurity concerns. He says “For she had eyes, and picked me. No, Iago, I’ll see prior to I question; when I doubt, show; And on the proof, there is no more however this: Away at the same time with love or jealousy,” (3.3.220-223). As it is mentioned here, Othello is upset since Iago has recommended that Desdemona is not loyal. Although he states that she “had eyes and picked me,” he likewise specifies “when I doubt show.” This reveals that Othello has doubts about Desdemona himself. Othello wants to believe that she chose him, however he frets that Brabantio is right. He informs Iago to leave, but now the concept has actually been planted in his mind. If he were protected in his relationship with her, then he would dismiss the doubt and move on with his life.

Others may feel that Othello is guilty because he is a barbaric villain. Nevertheless, this is not the case. In the last Act, Othello eliminates himself after finding that he has actually been betrayed by Iago. Cynics may object by saying that he is a villain who did not wish to pay the effects of his actions, so he committed suicide, wanting to maintain his honor. This can quickly be rebutted. Before he eliminates himself, Othello states, “kissed thee ere I killed thee. No other way however this, eliminating myself, to pass away upon a kiss.” (5.2.375) This shows that he feels remorse for his actions. He is aware that he has actually been played. He liked Desdemona, and now, by killing himself, he hopes to dominate the only enemy he has, himself. He is leaving life and getting in death with a kiss upon her lips, simply as he did prior to smothering her to death.

Othello went from a worthy soldier to a crazed killer and back again in a matter of five acts. He had insecurity concerns from the start. One vengeance looking for character played upon these weaknesses. Being dubious about his relationship permitted him to enter the wolf’s trap. Although Othello was vulnerable and Desdemona’s murder was his fault, he ought to be forgiven. There is a lesson to be learned from him. It is not a good idea to let jealousy and insecurities take control.

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